Another City, Not My Own
by Dominick Dunne
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Dominick Dunne is one of the most interesting authors in recent decades. His books are labeled as fiction, though they are based on true crime stories. For the most part, Mr. Dunne's books are non-fiction, with a few name changes to avoid lawsuits. Mr. Dunne runs in the highest social circles. He is trusted by most everyone, and therefore receives access to the best secrets and juiciest gossip.

These credentials made him more than qualified to cover the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. Mr. Dunne was there every day, only missing a few days for a family emergency. He was very open about his beliefs in O.J.'s guilt, and rightly so. In case you haven't heard, an abusive, obsessive boyfriend killed Mr. Dunne's daughter. Now you can understand Mr. Dunne's intensive investment of over a year of his life to this trial.

Outside of the courtroom, Mr. Dunne wrote for a magazine and gave countless television interviews on many news shows. In the evening, he was never without an invitation. To the "beautiful people," Mr. Dunne was the ultimate dinner guest. Everyone wanted to meet him and everyone had useful information pertaining to the saga. Though Mr. Dunne spent everyday in the courtroom, he learned most of his information for this book on the outside, in hush-hush conversations.

As I mentioned before, Another City, Not My Own is a work of fiction. It is the story of Gus Bailey, a well-known criminal author who is covering the Simpson criminal trial for Vanity Fair. Gus is best known for his novels based on true crime stories. Sound familiar?

Gus, who is famous for his tell-all fiction, is the talk of the town once again. Everybody wants to hear about the trial. The same people all have some useful information regarding the current trial of the century.

What Gus hears is usually fascinating and shocking. This reader learned what a small world it is. Everybody is connected in one way or another. In the world of the rich and famous, today's friends are tomorrow's enemies. They are willing to tell all on a whim.

Though it is filed under fiction, this book is so very true. The secrets of this trial are too outrageous to be made up. Please excuse the vulgarity, but Mr. Dunne has balls to publish this book. He spilled damning information on some high-profile lawyers. Any of these people could have come back and sued his butt, even if this book is "fiction."

Would you believe I missed the infamous car chase? I was at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The very next day I went to Amsterdam, so I missed the aftermath as well. I felt left out of all the water cooler conversations, but I would have made one hell of a juror.

It turns out that I found Another City, Not My Own more useful than the actual trial in helping me comprehend the verdict.

Here is my take on the whole fiasco based on what I learned from the book. You are more than welcome to disagree.

1. Johnnie Cochran is really a sleazebag. Is he really proud of the way he practices law? How can he sleep at night?

2. Everybody is connected to somebody in the trial. There are countless connections to the prosecution, defense and the players themselves. Those connections involve leaks, lies, sex, drugs and strange behaviors.

3. I now understand why the "not guilty" verdict was returned. I don't agree with it. I don't accept it. I just understand it.

After reading this book, I have the highest respect for Dominick Dunne. He reports his "fiction" fairly. Everybody is fair game, including the author himself. Through his character, Gus, Mr. Dunne confronts his own faults. I have a lot of respect for that.

Even though I have been touting this book as the truest fiction I have ever read, I do need to comment on the ending. The ending itself is pure fiction, but it is brilliant. Mr. Dunne is a clever dog with a twisted sense of humor similar to my own. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so.

If you choose to read Mr. Dunne's other novels, remember they are based on true stories. He changes the names to avoid the heat, but still includes all the juicy tidbits that other media outlets won't report. Half to fun of reading Mr. Dunne's novels is guessing who the characters really are in real life.

I have read hundreds of books and Another City, Not My Own was the first to knock me off my seat. My jaw dropped to the floor and it still has not closed.

I highly recommend this book. It is interesting. It is fascinating. Out of 100 people, 99 will enjoy the tale. It is that good. Pick up a copy and you won't me disappointed.

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Other Books by Dunne Reviewed at TheBookHaven.net:

The Way We
Lived Then

Justice